Corporate Cyberbullies – 2 Ways to Defeat Them
Corporate cyberbullies run rampant on social media. This post is based on a request from a coaching client as a follow up to my 3 Ways leaders Can Maximize Social Media post. I recall a news story a few years ago that highlighted this issue. The story outlined several instances corporations displayed bad behavior and social media initiated the reforms (David, 2014). However, social media reaction often falls prey to social justice warriors and scorned customers trying to cause the company harm (David, 2014). While leaders should use social media to actively listen to the client and employee base, I believe they should prepare for social media cyberbullies.
Assess Audience Shared Values
To mitigate damage done by corporate cyberbullies, leaders should assess the audience and address shared values. Much like George Washington addressing soldiers on the brink of mutiny after the Revolutionary War, leaders need enough social skills to determine the audience’s need and remind them of shared experiences and values (Baldoni, 2003, pgs. 98-99). In a speech after the War, Washington reacted to his corporate cyberbullies when he reminded the soldiers he too grew gray and blind in one eye in the War, thus breaking the tension (Baldoni, 2003, pgs. 98-99). Similarly, leaders should remind employees and followers of the shared difficulties they passed through in making it to the present. By doing this, tensions ease and make way for smoother relations. Too often, employees view the working environment as an “us versus them” gig. If leaders remind employees they, too suffer, the company makes forward progress.
Realize When to Act and Not Act
Leaders should realize while some situations require action, others require inaction. However, many corporate lawsuits originate from perceived leadership inaction (Valentine, Fleischman, & Godkin, 2018). Valentine, Fleischman, & Godkin (2018) suggest lawsuits may be avoided by forming employee peer groups, conducting ethics training, and leadership psychopathy training (Valentine, Fleischman, & Godkin, 2018). Specifically, the training should focus on lowering anxiety and exhibiting low emotional reactivity (Nekrassovski, 2016). Consequently, the Bible teaches a “soft answer turneth away wrath” (Pro. 15:1, King James Version). I believe, by employing these tactics, leaders may be successful in the face of bullies.
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Baldoni, J. (2003). Great Communication Secrets of Great Leaders. New York: McGraw-Hill.
David, J. E. (2014, April 30). Cyberbullying’s Got a New Target: Big Companies. Retrieved from nbcnews.com
Nekrassovski, O. (2016, August). Psychopathy and Leadership. Retrieved from researchgate.net
Valentine, S., Fleischman, G., & Godkin, L. (2018). Villains, Victims, and Verisimilitudes: An Exploratory Study of Unethical Corporate Values, Bullying Experiences, Psychopathy, and Selling Professionals’ Ethical Reasoning. Journal of Business Ethics, 135-154.
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